Visualizing Greek Myths

I read Persephone to 1st graders without showing any illustrations, only previewing some of the vocabulary by using a prop–actual pomegranate seeds, and allowing them to picture the underwolrd and Persephone herself.

The following lesson I told the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, again using some props such as thread to show how Ariadne helped Theseus remember his way out of the labyrinth, and of course, showed them a picture of a labyrinth as well as a picture of a bull. Then it was up to them! They visualized the story as a way to strengthen and practice visualizing, which is one way readers comprehend a longer, more complex story.

Here is what they came up with for Theseus and the Minotaur:





Here are the illustrations of Persephone:



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A Grain of Rice with Pre-K


Given a constraint, we often make a discovery. Today I had to read aloud a folktale to a class for my Storytelling class at Pratt. I chose One Grain of Rice, a title which I thought would be appropriate to a patterning theme for 4th grade, but my schedule only offered a Pre-K class of 3 year olds. So I stopped by and asked the teacher if any of the kids “played” with big numbers. One kid did, she said, but encouraged me to go ahead with the book.

We started off with the nursery rhyme of The Journey to St. Ives….and held up one hand (5), and counted on the other two fingers (6,7) as we read the nursery rhyme….this was to get us in the mood for numbers. Then as we read the story, they repeated orally the numbers that get increasingly longer and one grain of rice is doubled for 30 days. The one kid already played with numbers shouted out, “Oh no, next time it will be four thousand, four hundred five hundred six thousand two hundred,” or something like that! Young kids string together numbers they have heard, but do not yet know how to create numbers. When we came to a million, he threw that in the mix, and thus acquired a new number to his list which ended at a thousand before. Many kids repeated the numbers, showing engagement and comprehension, and one kid came to grab the book as I finished reading it.

Sometimes a higher level book is just what is needed to develop a sense of wonder and imagination. I will follow up and see how many numbers they can come up with next time I see them, and see if a million stuck in the one kid’s vocabulary or in anyone else’s!

2009 End of year procedures

Dear Teachers,

Last week I printed out overdue lists. Please bring them back to library this week and we will try to locate any books they think they have returned…the barcode numbers must match, not just the titles!
I also ask you to return any library books that you are not using by May 6th. I have a crew here on Friday 5/8 (so classes will be cancelled that day) to finish up the inventory. I will have a big cart outside the library for returns. Thanks to teachers who have been lending a hand in checking in and out books.

THE LAST DAY TO BORROW BOOKS WILL BE JUNE 3RD.

ALL BOOKS ARE DUE ON JUNE 8TH.

ALL LIBRARY CLASSES WILL END ON JUNE 11th, BUT YOU ARE WELCOME TO COME USE THE COMPUTERS OR READING ROOMS OR TAKE YOUR CLASS TO EPIPHANY. JUST EMAIL/CALL ME IN ADVANCE or email rebeccadash@nypl.org to set up an appt for your class to visit Epiphany.

ALL DOTTED/LEVELED BOOKS ARE TO REMAIN “CLASSROOM LIBRARY BOOKS”. Let me know if you need the stamp.

I would love to meet with you and plan for next year once your calendars are done. I am creating mine based on the NYC Information Fluency Standards as well as other sets of standards at http://mediacenterlessons.wikispaces.com.

Until then, please follow up with your students.
Please have them scour the classroom and their homes for their library books.
It helps if they have a place for library books in the classroom, and if during homework copying, they pull a book or two for reading hw from that bin, and bring it back the next day. They should not be taking a pile of books home—only what they need (use mental math and mood assessment—as in “sometimes I want something short and fun, like poetry”) for the evening or the weekend. On my part, next year I plan to set aside a week each quarter to print overdues so we do not have long lists of missing books.

Exceptions are made for long breaks, of course, but the kids should again use mental math to calculate how many books they need…most kids are pretty good, but there are a few that take advantage of our lending policy.
I am always reading several books, but there are only one or 2 in my bag. Have a place for those several here.